Top Menu

NBA moves toward Dec. 22 2020-2021 NBA season launch, 72-game schedule

NBA horizontal logoPlayers and owners are meeting today to approve a Dec. 22 launch to the 2020-2021 NBA season, along with a shorter 72-game season designed to lessen team travel.

If approved, it means we will see an incredibly condensed offseason, including a Nov. 18 date for the draft and a Dec. 1 opening for training camps. Several high-profile veterans had objected to an early start to the 2020-2021 NBA season after the 2019-2020 NBA season was delayed and teams playing in the Orlando bubble. However, there are some high-profile NBA teams eager to begin play that shut down in March and did not participate in the bubble session, such as the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors, who are eager to begin the season on Christmas Day. (Indeed, it’s hard not to think of an NBA season without an NBA broadcast from Madison Square Garden.)

Why this 2020-2021 NBA season schedule? Money. From ESPN:

The league believes that a Dec. 22 start that includes Christmas Day games on television and allows for a 72-game schedule that finishes before the Summer Olympics in mid-July is worth between $500 million and $1 billion in short- and long-term revenues to the league and players, sources said….

The league recently told teams that 40% of basketball-related income could be lost without gate receipts this season, sources said. The NBA’s basketball-related income was down $1.5 billion last season, according to data provided to teams and obtained by ESPN.

In an interesting side note, the league does not expect fans to be present in arenas, at least at the beginning of the season, although different municipalities handle indoor gatherings differently. Right now the NFL allows fans to games as local public-health officials allow, but the circumstances are a little different with indoor arenas versus outdoor venues.

, ,